Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 35 of 41

Thread: Choosing transformers: is mercury magnetics a snake oil scheme?

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    191
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 28/0
    Given: 5/0
    Rep Power
    1

    Choosing transformers: is mercury magnetics a snake oil scheme?

    I know the quality of transformers is very important... but what makes MM better than say.. classictone? I donít have the two to make a direct comparison, and it probably depends on transformer specs, but in regards to what Iím putting in my amp, what would make MM better than classictone for the sale value? Brand name and reputation alone? Has anyone observed a significant increase in quality with either one? They both seem good, but classictone is so much cheaper, and Iím having a hard time justifying the almost $400 it will require from a deposit to get MM iron instead.

    1 Not allowed! Not allowed!

  2. #2
    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Pace, FL
    Posts
    3,177
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 1,063/101
    Given: 146/35
    Rep Power
    12
    Quote Originally Posted by Steelwitch View Post
    I know the quality of transformers is very important... but what makes MM better than say.. classictone? I donít have the two to make a direct comparison, and it probably depends on transformer specs, but in regards to what Iím putting in my amp, what would make MM better than classictone for the sale value? Brand name and reputation alone? Has anyone observed a significant increase in quality with either one? They both seem good, but classictone is so much cheaper, and Iím having a hard time justifying the almost $400 it will require from a deposit to get MM iron instead.
    Marketing is what makes them better and more expensive. Classictone,Hammond, Heyboyer, try them you'll like them.
    nosaj

    3 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Binkie McFartnuggets‏:If we really wanted to know the meaning of life we would have fed Stephen Hawking shrooms a long time ago.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    191
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 28/0
    Given: 5/0
    Rep Power
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by nosaj View Post
    Marketing is what makes them better and more expensive. Classictone,Hammond, Heyboyer, try them you'll like them.
    nosaj
    Very cool! Thatís the answer I was hoping for

    1 Not allowed! Not allowed!

  4. #4
    Don't forget the joker g1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Canada, somewhere north of Fargo
    Posts
    11,629
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 1,544/23
    Given: 3,908/11
    Rep Power
    22
    I'd say part of it is massive markup for their dealers. They do not allow anyone to publish or advertise prices below MSRP. I could be wrong but my understanding is that their dealer cost is not all that out of line with other mfgrs. So the money isn't all going into their own pockets, but it helps keep a dealer base that will push their products because it is so much more profit.

    2 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Just because they don't have tubes doesn't mean they don't have feelings! - glebert

  5. #5
    Old Timer
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Chill-Ville, VA
    Posts
    3,138
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 653/6
    Given: 1,261/9
    Rep Power
    18
    I also know the full-page full-color ads in VG (MM) are a lot more expensive than the 1/4-or-less page B&W ads that other tranny mfrs use... That might account for some of that price...

    Justin

    1 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    "Wow it's red! That doesn't look like the standard Marshall red. It's more like hooker lipstick/clown nose/poodle pecker red." - Chuck H. -
    "Of course that means playing **LOUD** , best but useless solution to modern sissy snowflake players." - J.M. Fahey -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

  6. #6
    Don't forget the joker g1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Canada, somewhere north of Fargo
    Posts
    11,629
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 1,544/23
    Given: 3,908/11
    Rep Power
    22
    All that being said, I've mentioned this before but the re-vamped website seems to have really dialed down the rhetoric.

    2 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Just because they don't have tubes doesn't mean they don't have feelings! - glebert

  7. #7
    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    pacific north west
    Posts
    15,154
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 2,204/4
    Given: 2,514/0
    Rep Power
    30
    And it's fair to say that MM is usually at or near the top in "shootout" type comparisons. I don't think I've ever heard anyone complain about how they sound. Of course I haven't heard much of that about any transformer company. Most people like to (have to?) believe that whatever they bought is great and there's no desire to question it. That said...

    The difference heard in those shootouts is tiny and SUBJECTIVE. Often reviewed here, members commonly disagree about the desirable tonal attributes and which transformer delivers. Basically you can't go wrong if you go with a known manufacturer like Hammond, Heyboer, Edcor, and others (even MM). And IIRC the Classictone iron is typically good, but often rates lower in the shootouts. My experience with them is limited and I liked the one I used for what it was. Though not much was asked of it which is why I shopped price for that project. Personally, I'm a Hammond guy. Nothing but good results. But they're a little spendy too. Not on the order of MM though.

    And don't let any MM hype convince you that you need a new power transformer to improve your tone. Unless your existing transformer is sorely lacking in it's ability to do the job that notion is pure hogwash and there are plenty of transformers less expensive than MM iron for that chore.

    4 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    "Never bet your life on somebody else doing their job." SoulFetish's good friend

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

    "Back to the amp. It makes horrible sounds when I play my guitar thru it... because I suck at playing guitar." Mike6158

  8. #8
    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Pace, FL
    Posts
    3,177
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 1,063/101
    Given: 146/35
    Rep Power
    12
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    And it's fair to say that MM is usually at or near the top in "shootout" type comparisons. I don't think I've ever heard anyone complain about how they sound. Of course I haven't heard much of that about any transformer company. Most people like to (have to?) believe that whatever they bought is great and there's no desire to question it. That said...

    The difference heard in those shootouts is tiny and SUBJECTIVE. Often reviewed here, members commonly disagree about the desirable tonal attributes and which transformer delivers. Basically you can't go wrong if you go with a known manufacturer like Hammond, Heyboer, Edcor, and others (even MM). And IIRC the Classictone iron is typically good, but often rates lower in the shootouts. My experience with them is limited and I liked the one I used for what it was. Though not much was asked of it which is why I shopped price for that project. Personally, I'm a Hammond guy. Nothing but good results. But they're a little spendy too. Not on the order of MM though.

    And don't let any MM hype convince you that you need a new power transformer to improve your tone. Unless your existing transformer is sorely lacking in it's ability to do the job that notion is pure hogwash.
    To me the whole idea of them trying to sell you something that make you sound better reeks,....now if they sold Fingers with soul now that would be different.

    nosaj

    3 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Binkie McFartnuggets‏:If we really wanted to know the meaning of life we would have fed Stephen Hawking shrooms a long time ago.

  9. #9
    Old Timer
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Chill-Ville, VA
    Posts
    3,138
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 653/6
    Given: 1,261/9
    Rep Power
    18
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    Personally, I'm a Hammond guy. Nothing but good results. But they're a little spendy...
    Same here. And they're also a little bit "overkill," so you almost have to TRY to blow them up. Which, when every amp is different & unfamiliar, well, I like the margin of error.

    Justin

    2 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    "Wow it's red! That doesn't look like the standard Marshall red. It's more like hooker lipstick/clown nose/poodle pecker red." - Chuck H. -
    "Of course that means playing **LOUD** , best but useless solution to modern sissy snowflake players." - J.M. Fahey -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

  10. #10
    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Dogpatch-on-Hudson
    Posts
    6,369
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 1,391/21
    Given: 1,178/0
    Rep Power
    14
    Not a whole lot of experience with Mercury transformers. Two instances to relate. 1: Stock Fender Bandmaster head. Except for the OT, a MM substitute. Bright, harsh, shrill. Must be all that "extra bandwidth" that supposedly makes amps sound better with their iron. I'm far from convinced. Amp checked out in every other way. Short of swapping OT's I recommended, keep the bright switches off, treble dialed down, find speakers that don't accentuate the annoying frequency response of the amp. and B) Long time customer has a Gries 1x12 boo-teek combo, essentially a double power Princeton with 6L6 output tubes. Amp quits in the middle of a show. Naturally... Mercury power transformer dead, no explanation. Amp's never been abused, so there's no excuse. I replaced it with a stock Fender style transformer intended for Vibrolux Reverb and similar amps, about $100. No further problems.

    I hope yez all will understand if I fail to be impressed with MM. The only reason possibly to buy one is if it's some amp for which no other substitute can be found, and the amp must absolutely be made to work. The closest I came was a $100 garage sale find, a customer snagged a red-knob The Twin which had been chainsawed away from it's speaker complement and turned into a head. The PT was kaput, MM's replacement a princely $400. Customer told me no dice, keep the head, dissect it for parts. Got a nice pokey Fender OT out of that, and a chassis that may someday sport an entirely different amp.

    1 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Enjoy. Every. Sandwich.

  11. #11
    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Pace, FL
    Posts
    3,177
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 1,063/101
    Given: 146/35
    Rep Power
    12
    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    Not a whole lot of experience with Mercury transformers. Two instances to relate. 1: Stock Fender Bandmaster head. Except for the OT, a MM substitute. Bright, harsh, shrill. Must be all that "extra bandwidth" that supposedly makes amps sound better with their iron. I'm far from convinced. Amp checked out in every other way. Short of swapping OT's I recommended, keep the bright switches off, treble dialed down, find speakers that don't accentuate the annoying frequency response of the amp. and B) Long time customer has a Gries 1x12 boo-teek combo, essentially a double power Princeton with 6L6 output tubes. Amp quits in the middle of a show. Naturally... Mercury power transformer dead, no explanation. Amp's never been abused, so there's no excuse. I replaced it with a stock Fender style transformer intended for Vibrolux Reverb and similar amps, about $100. No further problems.

    I hope yez all will understand if I fail to be impressed with MM. The only reason possibly to buy one is if it's some amp for which no other substitute can be found, and the amp must absolutely be made to work. The closest I came was a $100 garage sale find, a customer snagged a red-knob The Twin which had been chainsawed away from it's speaker complement and turned into a head. The PT was kaput, MM's replacement a princely $400. Customer told me no dice, keep the head, dissect it for parts. Got a nice pokey Fender OT out of that, and a chassis that may someday sport an entirely different amp.
    Same here got one too free PT an OT. Not sure what I'm going to do with them yet.

    nosaj

    1 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Binkie McFartnuggets‏:If we really wanted to know the meaning of life we would have fed Stephen Hawking shrooms a long time ago.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Cornelius, Oregon
    Posts
    1,407
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 95/0
    Given: 194/2
    Rep Power
    15
    My experience with MM is alright.

    In one instance I had to replace a PT from a Magnatone 260 for a friend. That amp and a real 1951 Tele were his sound, so he needed it as close to original as it could get. A rewind of his PT cost more than a new MM PT, and it isn't as common of an amp as a Fender, so we went with it. Amp worked well, sounded great and he was back in business. It cost a LOT though, but there wasn't many good options.

    The 2nd example was of another friend who was having someone build an amp for him and they were taking too long, so he asked me to do it. He supplied all the parts, including a MM PT, OT, and choke. I put my own design into it based on the parts in use, and his desires, and he is happy. The amp sounds good. I'm sure he paid a LOT for the transformer set however.

    Would I buy MM? Not for my own amps, and not for customer amps unless I couldn't get it elsewhere....they are just too expensive, and to get to a dealer level so the price gets reasonable costs too much. If a customer wanted them, I'd use them, and I'd be confident they would work fine and sound good too.

    I generally prefer Heyboer for new manufacture.

    Greg

    3 Not allowed! Not allowed!

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    191
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 28/0
    Given: 5/0
    Rep Power
    1
    Thanks for the responses, yíall! I managed to snag a classictone 20w 8k output transformer for $20 which is exactly what I needed. Specifically for a prototype of an original design. So, we will see if it does what I need it to do, maybe Iíll snag a Heyboer just to A/B them

    2 Not allowed! Not allowed!

  14. #14
    Old Timer tedmich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Sonoma CA
    Posts
    3,325
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 210/2
    Given: 71/2
    Rep Power
    15
    The real tone secret is a MM multi choke in the power supply right?

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Capture.JPG 
Views:	60 
Size:	111.0 KB 
ID:	52862

    now if I could just rig up a MIDI control scheme for the multi choke...

    1 Not allowed! Not allowed!

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Norwalk CT
    Posts
    275
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 11/0
    Given: 9/0
    Rep Power
    11
    They have a really cool name!

    1 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    "Reality is an illusion albeit a very persistant one " Albert Einstein

  16. #16
    Supporting Member Jazz P Bass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Wernersville, PA
    Posts
    12,885
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 491/3
    Given: 260/0
    Rep Power
    26
    I had a customer bring in a Fender Deluxe Reissue.
    Not too sure who fleeced this guy.
    MM power transformer.
    MM choke.
    MM output transformer.
    Weber speaker. 12F150B.

    To be honest, the amp sounded great.
    Which I would attribute to the Weber.

    3 Not allowed! Not allowed!

  17. #17
    Old Timer
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Chill-Ville, VA
    Posts
    3,138
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 653/6
    Given: 1,261/9
    Rep Power
    18
    Bamboozled by marketing copy? I remember a thread a while back here, arguing that maybe bigger isn't always better for an OT, at least... Something about a Bassman 100 OT in a TR or TR OT in a Bassman 100... Anyway, the larger OT reportedly made the lows fuzzy and wooly, even for a bass? So the whole "Fat Stack" thingy doesn't fly with me. I say, don't be cheap, don't splurge, you're good to go.

    I could try the experiment myself, as I own both a Bassman 100 and a TR tranny set... My 67 Bassman also has a TR OT in it, & I found out my Concert apparently has the same PT as a contemporary Twin? Oh well, I should get hacking...

    Justin

    2 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    "Wow it's red! That doesn't look like the standard Marshall red. It's more like hooker lipstick/clown nose/poodle pecker red." - Chuck H. -
    "Of course that means playing **LOUD** , best but useless solution to modern sissy snowflake players." - J.M. Fahey -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

  18. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Chiraq
    Posts
    1,002
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 213/5
    Given: 249/1
    Rep Power
    7
    They said in the ad that sometimes you should replace a "tired" old choke. This company should be sued and put out of business. They still don't publish any specs on their site because it's not aimed at tech people which would see through their idiotic marketing bluster in an instant. They are trying to attract the "cool, rock guitar guy," or the endlessly searching tone hound-type. So basically people that don't know how to change a plate or cathode resistor and actually adjust the sound of their amp


    Edit: two seconds on their site and I come across this. I remember I saw this a couple years ago and also got mad:

    The Phenomenon of Ear Fatigue
    Did you know... that ear fatigue is related to poor transformer quality? If while playing (or listening to someone play) through an amp you find yourself tiring easily, or the experience seems unpleasant… you are experiencing the tell-tale signs of ear fatigue. It is nature's way of telling you that something's wrong. In nature all sounds are composed of layers of frequencies producing all sorts of harmonics and distortion. Ear fatigue is caused by information commingling with non-musical, unnatural noise that "beats up" your internal mechanisms. The mechanisms that make your hearing possible are working overtime trying to separate the desirable from the less desirable sounds. It's the output transformer's job to emphasize the even-order harmonics and make tones more musical, appealing, and less fatiguing. There's no short-cut to building a quality transformer. The result is less effort by your ear to receive this information.
    I am no doctor but I thought ear fatigue had to do with high SPL for extended periods of time. Not if the amp had a MM transformer or not

    Edit again: I am laughing thinking of EVERY classic amp that everyone loves the sound of that doesnt' come with a MM transformer. Do any famous, legendary, desirable, etc amps actually come with MM transformers?

    6 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Last edited by nsubulysses; 03-11-2019 at 12:07 AM.

  19. #19
    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    pacific north west
    Posts
    15,154
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 2,204/4
    Given: 2,514/0
    Rep Power
    30
    I actually tried above not to and didn't want to turn this into another bash MM thread, but yeah, That one always pissed me off. That's a big ,smelly load of horse shit. Totally made up and inaccurate regarding either ear fatigue or transformers in any way. For one, ear fatigue is not related to the harmonic relationship of the sound. (<period) And B, transformers have absolutely no ability to filter odd or even order harmonics selectively. (<period) This isn't just hype, it's a blatant lie with the intent to mislead and then profit from it. Which, if it's not, should be illegal. On what grounds you prove that I don't know but it would be a kick to see the money grubbing maggot who wrote it try to explain themselves when the only accurate answer could be "I made up a lie to get more of other peoples money".

    4 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    "Never bet your life on somebody else doing their job." SoulFetish's good friend

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

    "Back to the amp. It makes horrible sounds when I play my guitar thru it... because I suck at playing guitar." Mike6158

  20. #20
    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Dogpatch-on-Hudson
    Posts
    6,369
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 1,391/21
    Given: 1,178/0
    Rep Power
    14
    Quote Originally Posted by nsubulysses View Post
    Do any famous, legendary, desirable, etc amps actually come with MM transformers?
    2-Rock? Got $10,000? Meanwhile Dumble goes shopping for iron at Ruby/Magic Parts. Another little-heard-from source. I've gotten lots of transformers from them. If it's good enough for HAD, it's good enough for me. And my customers.

    2 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Enjoy. Every. Sandwich.

  21. #21
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    801
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 95/0
    Given: 212/0
    Rep Power
    12
    Think you missing that: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0UUWqQy-Kgg&t=145s
    It seems You throw the money on the window if buy a MM PT without a MM 30 bucks power cord

    4 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Last edited by catalin gramada; 03-11-2019 at 12:32 AM.
    "If it measures good and sounds bad, it is bad. If it measures bad and sounds good, you are measuring the wrong things."

  22. #22
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Chiraq
    Posts
    1,002
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 213/5
    Given: 249/1
    Rep Power
    7
    5,000,000 repairs between everyone on this forum and no one has troubleshot a badly working amp and then eventually realized, "we need to replace the choke. It's tired and old."

    SO, if MM gets bashed, it's not like we were trying to go out of our way to do it. It's just that...........what they say makes no sense
    It seems to be a brand for people who don't know better, or better yet want to believe.

    All that aside. I'm not saying their transformers are good or bad. I just dislike everything that has to do with their image and marketing.

    My own anecdotal experience is when prototyping amps use Hammond. They are awesome, and their product line will allow you to make almost any amp you want with off the shelf transformers. When you want to make more then one amp, use Heyboer. I don't notice their transformers to sound ANY different from same amps with Hammond iron. And Heyboer will make 1 transformer for you or 1,000, built to your spec. Even if you just ask them to make "this hammond PT and that hammond OT" they will do it. They will be about same price as Hammond if you buy 1 set. If you buy 5 or more of the same transformer they will be about 15% cheaper than Hammond. I'm sure you can get better price breaks with bigger orders but I've never ordered more than 5. If you want to be cheap or if it just fits your project, use Classictone/Magnetic Components. Some amps that I've built with Classictone iron made me say, "WHAT! does this amp actually sound slightly better than same amp with Hammond/Heyboer transformers or is it just me!??!?!" At this point you are analyzing minutia and it may or may not be true, but it is up to the listener to decide if they want to believe!

    Exact same amp built with everything exactly the same except transformer brand still has every component tolerance to take into account, plus pots are notoriously not exact so treble on 6 on one amp is not necessarily the same as treble on 6 on another amp, so it's really difficult to actually tell, even if amp circuits are identical.

    So in conclusion I consider those 3 brand to be stand up products I've always had good results with and I dislike MM even though I've never used them. I think Hammond/Heyboer/Classictone also intalled all the mojo in the iron but they just didn't talk about it incessantly to lure in obsessive tone seeker types

    4 Not allowed! Not allowed!

  23. #23
    Old Timer tedmich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Sonoma CA
    Posts
    3,325
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 210/2
    Given: 71/2
    Rep Power
    15
    Quote Originally Posted by catalin gramada View Post
    Think you missing that: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0UUWqQy-Kgg&t=145s
    It seems You throw the money on the window if buy a MM PT without a MM 30 bucks power cord
    Oh I forgot they made high fidelity power cords, and a bargain compared to the real audiophools!

    Can I market a too small cord (maybe 22 AWG) as an "extra hot" cord for extreme players? Firewire 2.0??!
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	vlcsnap-2019-03-10-17h06m06s682.png 
Views:	34 
Size:	171.6 KB 
ID:	52871

    4 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Last edited by tedmich; 03-11-2019 at 01:07 AM.

  24. #24
    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Dogpatch-on-Hudson
    Posts
    6,369
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 1,391/21
    Given: 1,178/0
    Rep Power
    14
    Quote Originally Posted by nsubulysses View Post
    I think Hammond/Heyboer/Classictone also intalled all the mojo in the iron but they just didn't talk about it incessantly to lure in obsessive tone seeker types
    And thank hevvins for that! Geeze I want the job being the mojo installer... do I need a kollidge degree or what?

    Speaking of mojo, where do Mojo, and while we're at it Hoffman get their iron? I think it's Heyboer.

    1 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Enjoy. Every. Sandwich.

  25. #25
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Chiraq
    Posts
    1,002
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 213/5
    Given: 249/1
    Rep Power
    7
    I know heyboer makes a lot for mojotone. And I know they also make the ampeg replacement transformers fliptops sells. You don't even have to request they add the mojo in, they just do it without even asking.

    Anything with the sticker on it with serial number listed as HT-xxxxx is a Heyboer Transformer

    3 Not allowed! Not allowed!

  26. #26
    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Posts
    11,753
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 1,877/23
    Given: 1,463/35
    Rep Power
    27
    So far I had been neutral about MM
    As in: transformers look good, nobody complains about them, if anything they are praised, price is too high compared to competence or average but my Merchant mind thinks: IF they can add some marketing and charge extra, fine with me ... THAT is the purpose of Marketing, advertising, etc. , a normal part of day to day business.

    BUT when they start POISONING peopleīs minds with crap properly described as : "This isn't just hype, it's a blatant lie with the intent to mislead and then profit from it. " and now I am pissed off, so from now on will actively burn any claim they make in every Forum I find them. As simple as that.

    6 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Juan Manuel Fahey

  27. #27
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Chiraq
    Posts
    1,002
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 213/5
    Given: 249/1
    Rep Power
    7
    The real question is should the cathode capacitor of V1 gain stage be 1uF or 1.5uF. I thought it was 1.5uF but i recently found that it should be 1.2uF for best tone result in my application (not joking). Maybe 1.25uF would be better but I haven't tried yet (joking).

    Listening to the amp constantly for over 2 years I thought 1.5uF was PERFECT but then I mailed one (coincidentally this one had Hammond PT, Classictone OT cuz that's what I had around) to a golden ears recording engineer to demo and he said the bass was too loose/flubby and suggested I reduce bass response early in the preamp to fix it. He hypothesized that "the sound of metal" was a starved bass response early in the preamp and then more bass added later in the preamp so it can still be full sounding but remains tight and articulate on pick attack due to limited bass early on. He is right. I did not even know til he told me it had too much bass. now I agree, reducing 1.5uF to 1.2uF it still sounds thick and full but the response on pick attack is better -- it has more clarity and presence, and sounds more biting and aggressive. 1uF is too low, it's thin sounding when cords ring out and when doing chugs, and a bit too harsh on pick attack. Strange coincidence, this is a parallel 12AX7 gain stage so 1.2uF cathode cap is equivalent to .6uF cathode cap on regular gain stage, DANGEROUSLY close to Marshall value of .68uF cathode cap. So the studio engineer is unaware of this but he is basically telling me to adjust my amp more towards typical marshall values for a better sound Damn! just when I thought I was reinventing the wheel!

    1uF vs 1.5uF will change the sound more than what brand transformer you use, IMO, and that's just 1 minor component value change to 1 component out of dozens or hundreds in an amp. All amps with 1.2uF cathode cap will sound better than all amps with 1.5uF cathode cap regardless of what transformer brand the amps have because one will have a more flubby/loose bass response on pick attack and the other will have just the right amount of woof and cut for metallic playing. Well, in some peoples opinion at least

    Of course Chuck thinks it should be 25uF for best hum result but that's a whole nother story. i never heard anyone say, "wow that amp had the best sounding lack of hum I've ever heard!" Must have been heavy in even order harmonics if it did I would guess.

    Sorry guess i am going way with my tangent. I think the best circuit sounds the best

    4 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Last edited by nsubulysses; 03-11-2019 at 08:33 AM.

  28. #28
    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    pacific north west
    Posts
    15,154
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 2,204/4
    Given: 2,514/0
    Rep Power
    30
    Quote Originally Posted by nsubulysses View Post
    Of course Chuck thinks it should be 25uF for best hum result but that's a whole nother story. i never heard anyone say, "wow that amp had the best sounding lack of hum I've ever heard!" Must have been heavy in even order harmonics if it did I would guess.
    I absolutely DO But it isn't just for hum. Most of the (production) cascade preamps that employ a partial bypass first gain stage are also employing DC filaments now. I recently did some ear testing before changing one of my long standing designs. This amp does NOT suffer from any filament related hum. I arranged a 4pdt switch with a 3.3uf bypass cap, a 22uf bypass cap and associated circuitry to "correct" the frequency content after decoupling. I tried several different 12ax7's in the first position just to rule out the probability of a noisy tube influencing the test. The results were consistent and the fully bypassed cathode was always quieter, but it wasn't hum that was eliminated because, as I mentioned, this amp doesn't hum. Further, the noise wasn't 60Hz and it wasn't a sine wave. More like a low frequency hash. Since I have limited bench gear for testing such things I can only guess that it's some sort of emission noise inherent to elevated tube cathode circuits. It's therefor my experienced opinion that the trend toward partially bypassed cathode circuits in modern amps began with the genre of amp modification and hasn't been adequately examined with respect to this noise consequence.

    I still use partially bypassed cathodes for later stages when it gives me what I want. The noise consequence in these later stages doesn't seem significant.

    Thought I wouldn't respond

    But I digress now in the interest of not entirely derailing the thread. I enjoyed your storied explanation of the issue above and agree that these elements of design are eminently more important than whether you choose a Hammond or a MM transformer.

    1 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Last edited by Chuck H; 03-16-2019 at 06:44 AM.
    "Never bet your life on somebody else doing their job." SoulFetish's good friend

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

    "Back to the amp. It makes horrible sounds when I play my guitar thru it... because I suck at playing guitar." Mike6158

  29. #29
    Senior Member SoulFetish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,181
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 375/1
    Given: 327/0
    Rep Power
    6
    I've probably softened my stance on MM a little bit with experience. What you need to know if you are ordering a drop in replacement is, sometimes they fit (a little snug), and sometimes you need to be prepared to do some metalwork; and professional quality metalwork if you want to keep your amp from looking like it was butchered by a hack.
    I think they are often overpriced and a comparable transformer can be had by the other manufacturers mentioned above. But our shop is a Merc dealer, so for me personally, often MM can actually be a better option.
    They traditionally provide NOTHING substantive in the way of technical information, so they aren't really an option for me at all when designing and amp.
    I do think they pedal some bullshit in marketing their transformers. But I will admit, that in an actual blind listening test for one particular amplifier, I NARROWLY chose the Mercury output transformer over Heyboer in a shootout of 4 transformers (I think?). Let me see if I can find the link...
    sorry, it was 3 transformers. See for yourself:
    http://www.channelroadamps.com/articles/ot_shootout/
    I was actually surprised by the results. I wanted to have a douchy attitude about MM, but there you have it.

    5 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    If I have a 50% chance of guessing the right answer, I guess wrong 80% of the time.

  30. #30
    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    pacific north west
    Posts
    15,154
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 2,204/4
    Given: 2,514/0
    Rep Power
    30
    Quote Originally Posted by SoulFetish View Post
    I've probably softened my stance on MM a little bit with experience. What you need to know if you are ordering a drop in replacement is, sometimes they fit (a little snug), and sometimes you need to be prepared to do some metalwork; and professional quality metalwork if you want to keep your amp from looking like it was butchered by a hack.
    I think they are often overpriced and a comparable transformer can be had by the other manufacturers mentioned above. But our shop is a Merc dealer, so for me personally, often MM can actually be a better option.
    They traditionally provide NOTHING substantive in the way of technical information, so they aren't really an option for me at all when designing and amp.
    I do think they pedal some bullshit in marketing their transformers. But I will admit, that in an actual blind listening test for one particular amplifier, I NARROWLY chose the Mercury output transformer over Heyboer in a shootout of 4 transformers (I think?). Let me see if I can find the link...
    sorry, it was 3 transformers. See for yourself:
    http://www.channelroadamps.com/articles/ot_shootout/
    I was actually surprised by the results. I wanted to have a douchy attitude about MM, but there you have it.
    Terrific test I narrowly chose the Weber OT for it's more focused midrange. But I think that's because the test amp was rather brash sounding, so that contribution helped that particular amp. Otherwise the Mercury had a more open, but still full sound and may have been the best with , say, a Marshall type amp. Take that Triode OT up on an overpass and toss it at a car

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    "Never bet your life on somebody else doing their job." SoulFetish's good friend

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

    "Back to the amp. It makes horrible sounds when I play my guitar thru it... because I suck at playing guitar." Mike6158

  31. #31
    Supporting Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Staffordshire UK
    Posts
    3,729
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 475/1
    Given: 440/2
    Rep Power
    18
    I was surprised by the tonal difference too; for the MM just pipped the Weber, it seemed to have pleasing mid range resonance, whereas yes, the Triode was noticeably less appealing than either.
    I wish he'd checked / reported on the winding ratios.

    1 Not allowed! Not allowed!

  32. #32
    Supporting Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    2,076
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 1,565/1
    Given: 889/2
    Rep Power
    5
    Interesting test!

    I definitely liked the neck PU sound best with #2 (Triode).

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    - Own Opinions Only -

  33. #33
    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    pacific north west
    Posts
    15,154
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 2,204/4
    Given: 2,514/0
    Rep Power
    30
    So!!! That's three votes so far and three different choices See? Subjective. But we all know the drill when choosing a speaker for a given amp. Four hundred dollars later you might have the best one. You have certainly chosen your favorite of the three you purchased I guess now we need to do this with output transformers too

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    "Never bet your life on somebody else doing their job." SoulFetish's good friend

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

    "Back to the amp. It makes horrible sounds when I play my guitar thru it... because I suck at playing guitar." Mike6158

  34. #34
    Supporting Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Staffordshire UK
    Posts
    3,729
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 475/1
    Given: 440/2
    Rep Power
    18
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    I absolutely DO But it isn't just for hum. Most of the (production) cascade preamps that employ a partial bypass first gain stage are also employing DC filaments now. I recently did some ear testing before changing one of my long standing designs. This amp does NOT suffer from any filament related hum. I arranged a 4pdt switch with a 3.3uf bypass cap, a 22uf bypass cap and associated circuitry to "correct" the frequency content after decoupling. I tried several different 12ax7's in the first position just to rule out the probability of a noisy tube influencing the test. The results were consistent and the fully bypassed cathode was always quieter, but it wasn't hum that was eliminated because, as I mentioned, this amp doesn't hum. Further, the noise wasn't 60Hz and it wasn't a sine wave. More like a low frequency hash. Since I have limited bench gear for testing such things I can only guess that it's some sort of emission noise inherent to elevated tube cathode circuits. It's therefor my experienced opinion that the trend toward partially bypassed cathode circuits in modern amps began with the genre of amp modification and hasn't been adequately examined with respect to this noise consequence...
    Good test, I don't remember noticing that you reported on this previously?

    I seem to remember a thread about noise and grid stoppers, where Merlin advised that with a regular input stage, the 68k or 33k grid stopper value was usually the most significant noise source in the amp, but if the cathode was unbypassed, then noise from the cathode resistor became significant too, as the cathode is then in the signal path, and although the cathode resistor value was much lower than grid circuit resistance, the cathode current was massively higher.
    Hope I paraphrased / remembered things correctly, it seems to make sense to me at the moment

    Of course with a partial bypass, the bypass cap would get rid of the higher frequency part of the noise, whilst the lower freq would remain, which may help to explain your finding.

    Maybe someone else may have more luck searching for that thread than me.

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!

  35. #35
    Supporting Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    1,419
    Thumbs Up/Down
    Received: 159/0
    Given: 2,388/0
    Rep Power
    4
    Then I shoulda got heyboers and had some end bells made up painted with the big M.

    2 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    The only good solid state amp is a dead solid state amp. Unless it sounds really good, then its OK.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 23
    Last Post: 01-10-2011, 12:41 PM
  2. Replies: 12
    Last Post: 10-04-2009, 08:59 PM
  3. Mercury Magnetics Mod for Epi Valve Junior?
    By Steve A. in forum Mods & Tweaks
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 07-04-2009, 02:36 PM
  4. Mercury Magnetics transformers...
    By krhnyc in forum Mods & Tweaks
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 06-28-2009, 06:46 AM
  5. Mercury Magnetics Wiring
    By pxpx83 in forum 5 E 3
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 12-18-2007, 05:05 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •